My comfort food is rice. When I have nothing else to cook with, no vegetables, no mood, no time, unexpected guests… basically anything to give me an excuse to eat rice will be taken! The fact that
I hate getting flour under my nails is one of the main reasons I love rice. I am a self respecting Rice eating south Indian and never feel ‘full’ if my meal is made up of only roti is my main motivation.
So when I wanted to make a robust salad and make a whole meal of it, my choice of carbohydrate naturally was rice. I used brown rice and I do believe this is what adds a nice texture to this salad. Brown rice, either you love it or you hate it. Our palate these days is so attuned to silky white polished rice, that any different texture just doesn’t feel like rice. I began experimenting with brown rice a few years ago and the Escapades household has a very clear verdict – No brown rice stuff for K.
So while I stock atleast 5 different kinds of rice in the pantry, I use most of them when I am cooking a meal just for myself. At best, K will eat it when disguised as mushy pongal or khichdi.
This salad is a filling nutritious meal and can be had both warm and at room temperature. Brown rice doesn’t refrigerate very well. So any leftovers need to be consumed within a day or two. This is a dish that is very versatile, increase the amount of rice by double and serve as a pulav, swap the brown rice with cooked white rice or even cooked pasta if you are not fond of its taste.
Warm Brown Rice Salad with Vegetables – Serves 2
Brown Rice ½ cup, washed and soaked for 20 minutes
Onion 1 medium
Red bell pepper 1 medium
Zucchini ½ a small one
Carrot 1 medium
Red chilli flakes ½ teaspoon
Lemon juice 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Olive oil 1 tablespoon
Oregano ½ teaspoon (dried)
Garlic 1 pod, sliced
Fresh Coriander Leaves 1 small bunch
In a pressure cooker, add the rice and 11/2 cups of water, cook for 3 whistles and then lower the flame and cook for 10 minutes till done.
When the pressure releases, open the cooker, fluff the rice with a fork. If there is water at the bottom, drain it with a sieve. Set aside.
If you do not like the taste or texture of brown rice, you can use regular white rice for this dish.
Peel the carrot and cut into small cubes. Chop the onions, zucchini and bell peppers into the same size as the carrots.
In a pan, heat the olive oil and fry the garlic slices till they are golden brown, remove them carefully to a small plate and set aside.
In the same oil, add the carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes, covered.
Add the onions, bell peppers and zucchini pieces and stir and cook for 2 minutes, add the oregano, salt, red chilli flakes, and part of the fresh coriander and stir. Remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes.
When you are ready to serve, add the cooked brown rice to the vegetables and stir gently. Taste and check for salt, adjust if needed. Add the lemon juice and remaining coriander and stir gently. Serve immediately.